Last year was quite stressful. In September I had completed a lot of fayres and events for work, I started to teach a new class each week, my dog was poorly and needed to stay in doggy hospital on the mainland and my son took 3 exams, also on the mainland which meant 3 separate trips. By Christmas I was exhausted.
I decided that during that 2 week break, I needed to re-evalute my work/life balance. For the first week I just de-stressed (i.e. watched tv and ate cake). Then I made my plan. I ask myself – What do I like doing the most?
I had to decide what was the least useful way of using my energy. I decided to have a year off markets and fayres. Although these events might only be a day or two, the preparation often extends into many days beforehand and a couple of days after. And perhaps I wouldn’t really get much out of it, either financially or in a PR sense. Making that decision has freed me up. I decided to devote myself to book and literary events only; it makes more sense of my time.
I found that previously, time was too short for cooking food from scratch or exercising and I’m pretty sure that both of these things added to my sense of exhaustion. So far this year I have been swimming, gone to the gym and taken my allotment by the scruff of the neck! I’ve mostly home cooked our meals and what’s more, the family have eaten them without much moaning!
So here are my top tips for managing your time in a useful way:
- Ask yourself what do you love doing the most? Cut out the things you hate.
- Ask what tasks give you the most back (either financially or personally) and make sure you prioritise them.
- Are you a morning person or an afternoon/evening person? make sure you do the most creative or challenging tasks at the time of day you are at your best. Save the boring stuff for other times.
- Write lists. I have sticky notes on my laptop which I update regularly. Prioritise the most important things to get done and tick them off as you do them. It gives you a sense of actually getting things done.
- Make time for exercise, relaxation and eating well. It makes a massive difference.
- Make a Mind Map for your business to see which are the things you really MUST do, the things you COULD do and the things that you’ve been doing that really DON’T need doing at all.
- Keep note on how much time you procrastinate. If you like to lose hours to Facebook or Twitter, make sure you do it in a non-work time. For me, that’s the evening when my brain has pretty much shut down.
- Outsource the things you’re not so good at to someone who IS good at it! It will take them less time than you and free your time up for something else that will benefit you.
I hope that is helpful – please leave a comment if you have alternative tips for good use of time!